HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, finds that UnitedHealth Group's recent acquisition of PacifiCare makes it the largest insurer in Colorado. According to Colorado Health Plan Analysis, a new HealthLeaders-InterStudy report covering the state, the combined company has about 800,000 members, or 27 percent of the state's health insurance market.
"Despite the merger, United and PacifiCare still face formidable competition in Colorado," said Don Mooradian, HealthLeaders-InterStudy analyst. "Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, owned by the nation's largest insurer, WellPoint, and Kaiser Permanente, the California-based nonprofit known for its integrated health systems, are both strong, profitable companies. National insurers like Aetna and CIGNA HealthCare are also pouring resources into the state."
UnitedHealthcare agreed to a number of conditions placed on the merger by state officials, including no pass-through of merger costs to Colorado consumers via higher premiums, the appointment of an ombudsman to resolve issues with physicians, and a promise to invest in rural healthcare.
Employer coalitions like the Colorado Business Group on Health don't see any benefit in consolidation. Regardless of any possible efficiency gains, they do not foresee any reduction in the premiums they pay for their employees.
Other health plan news in Colorado:
All but one Colorado HMO showed a profit through the first half of 2005, though overall net income was down from the previous six month period, largely due to a significant drop in Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado's net income.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has rolled out Tonik, a plan aimed at young uninsured adults.
CIGNA HealthCare is expanding its clinical management program and health coaching capabilities through its CareAllies division.
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